Cosmic bookstore conceived as a "portal through time and space"
X+Living has made a real splash producing fantastical bookstores throughout China, including examples in Shenzhen and Chongqing. The firm has now revealed yet another in Huai'an that features an incredible interior design made up of complex cosmic forms.
The Huai'an Zhongshuge bookstore measures 810 sq m (roughly 8,700 sq ft), spread over two floors, and its design came about in an attempt to offer a break from the mundane concrete buildings found throughout Huai'an. On that note we'd say it has certainly succeeded. The interior is conceived as a portal through time and space and made up of large-scale "astronomical instruments," which form an arrangement of concentric rings.
"As if slowly rising from a sea of stars, the bookshelves like astronomical instruments emit a wondrous gravity, ambient lights scattering illusory luminance," said X+Living. "The black woodgrain bookshelf walls and refined marble textures collaboratively sketch out a boundless outer space, where irregular structures are arranged sporadically, seemingly adhering to rules governing celestial motions, forming precise, gargantuan mechanical parts.
"Miniaturized individuals wander within the instruments, tons of scattered books containing infinite worlds, glimpsing the mysteries of the cosmos. From antiquity to the present, humanity's exploration of outer space has never ceased – from the armillary sphere to space rockets, from stargazing to traversing the void, with books witnessing it all."
Alongside the use of wood and marble, the bookstore features generous glazing, showing off the interior to passersby, while a mirrored ceiling and complex lighting help accentuate the intricate design.
One of the circular displays incorporates a staircase, offering access to the upper floor, while others host book displays. Additionally, there are bookshelves and displays that are arranged as planets of different sizes. Alongside these, the bookstore also includes a reading area and a café, plus there's a children's area with a space-like theme, with colorful robots and a satellite.
China really seems to make an effort with its bookstores and, in addition to X+Living's designs there have been outstanding examples by MVRDV and even a World Architecture Festival Interior Design winner.